Predicting heart disease and mortality from before middle-age
posted on: Feb 25, 2010
A range of biological and lifestyle characteristics commonly found in early adulthood pre-dispose people to death up to four decades later, according to work carried out by Dr Linsay Gray and Dr David Batty of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit in collaboration with colleagues from Public Health and Health Policy at the University of Glasgow and the Department of Social Medicine at the University of Bristol.
Cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption and low lung capacity were found to predict deaths from heart disease. Obesity and social disadvantage were additionally implicated in deaths from any cause. This research was based on over 1,500 men and women providing information when they were under 35 years and followed for 40 years, during which time 255 died, including 103 from heart disease. While many previous studies have measured risk in middle- and older-age groups, little has previously been done to predict death based on circumstances earlier in adulthood.
Discussing the implications of the findings, Dr Linsay Gray commented that "these results raise the possibility that public health interventions to reduce the burden of heart disease and early death should perhaps be implemented at an earlier stage in life than is currently the case."
The findings are published in European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention & Rehabilitation.